The Trees Cemetery is located in Duncanville at 1800 Santa Fe. The original site for this family cemetery is a small portion of the 320 acre Thomas Anderson Survey. Crawford Trees’ Survey is east of the Anderson Survey and the now two and one half acre Trees Cemetery began on this survey and later expanded. The site is between the Santa Fe Railroad and Cedar Hill Road.
Peters Colonist Thomas Anderson arrived in Texas before 1850 as a single man and patented his 320 acres in Robertson County (west of the Trinity River). When Dallas County was formed, the first census in 1850 lists Tennessee native Thomas Anderson (1816-?) living with his father, Virginia native, James Anderson (1795-?). James Anderson was married to Kentucky native Mary (1804-?) and they had two young children. Mary was possibly a step mother to Thomas. Thomas’ Survey is adjacent to his father’s 640 acre Survey to the south.
Illinois native Crawford Trees (1823-1889) came to Texas in 1845 as a single man. Within a year he had met and married Annie Kimmel (1831-1913) also from Illinois. Due to Annie’s age (14), her mother Catherine went with them to the County Courthouse to give permission for the marriage. They were the first couple to be married in the newly designated Dallas County. They did not have to pay for their license and when Judge W.H. Hord died in 1902 his death notice mentioned that he officiated at this first marriage.
In 1849 Crawford Trees left his family and with others went to California to prospect for gold. After two years he came back to Texas with several thousand dollars and started purchasing land and farming. In 1853 a female slave with two children was purchased by Trees to work on the farm. This land stayed in the family until 1973.
While at the courthouse agreeing to the marriage of her daughter, Catherine and Joseph Graham also acquired a marriage license. Pennsylvania native Joseph Graham (1792- ?) had come to Texas in 1843 with two adult children, Milton age twenty-two and Clarisse age nineteen. Joseph received 640 acres and his son Milton as a single man received 320 acres.
Catherine Kimmel (1792-1867) also from Illinois had come to Texas before 1848 with her children, Malvina, Annie, and Phillip. Her husband, Daniel Kimmel had died in Illinois in 1842. Catherine received 320 acres from Peters Colony. Phillip Kimmel, her son, as a single man received 320 acres. Malvina and her husband John Henderson lived on Catherine’s grant.
In 1854 Phillip Kimmel married Susan Henderson. In August 1856 Phillip Kimmel and his friend William Stiles were both murdered by a nearby neighbor, Joseph Guest who was a twenty-two year old farmer from Alabama living with the John J. Whealer family. These Were the first burials in the Trees Cemetery. Susan Kimmel later married Drury Campbell in 1871, George Weaver 1882 and Valentine Crawford in 1885. In 1861 Crawford Trees volunteered to serve in the War Between the States and left Annie with their ten children and the slaves. He was gone about a year and came home sick, but with the help of Annie and their children recovered to manage the property and when he died in 1889 they had given each child a 160 acre farm and Annie was left with an estate valued at about $40,000 consisting of 3858 acres of land, stock, and cash. Annie died in 1913 and is buried in Trees Cemetery. Her mother, Catherine, who had died between 1861 and 1867, had been buried near the home place, but when the land sold in 1973 her headstone was moved to the Trees Cemetery, too.
Crawford and Annie’s daughter Catherine Trees (1848-1921) was named for her grandmother. She married Jess Middleton Ramsey (1843-1927) in 1869. Jess was the son of Samuel and Salinda Ramsey who had come to Texas with their six children in 1845. Jess served in the Civil War in Parsons Confederate Texas Cavalry Brigade.
When he returned to the Cedar Hill area, he made several cattle drives to Kansas City. He continued in the livestock and farming business and later acquired over 1000 acres of land in this area. He opened a store in the Cedar Hill community. Four years later he sold that to J.H. Stewart and went into the gin business and owned threshing machines. He was active in the Methodist Church and with others organized the Citizens Bank in 1902. He and his wife, Catherine, are buried in Trees Cemetery as is his mother Salinda (1820-1868).
The daughter of Jess and Catherine Ramsey, Wi
nnie Ann (1889-1971) married Marshall Maurice Straus (1889-1966). This family operated a mercantile business in Duncanville. Straus Road in this community was named for this family. Winnie Anne and M.M. are buried in the Trees Cemetery.
The Trees Cemetery is still active and being used by family members of the original pioneer families who established it in the early 1850s.
Courtesy “From the Ground UP” – Volume III by Frances James.
Photo: Anna Mineva Kimmel Trees headstone. She was first person married in Dallas County.